It seems to be a very wide spread claim that Australia was started as a British penal colony. When I first heard of it as a young kid, I envisioned some crime infested dystopia like in the movie Escape from L.A.
From those claim it seems that the main reason for the initial British colonization of Australia was not territorial gain, mercantile (creating new markets for British goods), resource excavation or military, like in the colonization of Africa, America and the conquest of east Asia, but the creation of a Penal colony.
Was the main reason for the colonization of Australia the creation of penal colonies, or was it only a side affect of the vast unexploited areas that the already established Australian colonies had?
Examples of the claim online: